January 03, 2009

Valkyrie

This movie received such bad reviews from many different places.

"“The film just isn’t a thriller at all” said one “Valkyrie” viewer. “It’s a bunch of white guys in Nazi uniforms. It’s too bad. And Tom doesn’t speak with a German accent — though they did add a voiceover of him speaking German to the beginning of the film. Still, it’s as if he could say ‘I complete you’ at any time. This is not his Oscar moment.” " [msnbc.com]

"McCarthy also has some kind words for Singer, but concludes: "Allowing for the need to compress and streamline events, the scribes have hewed pretty closely to the facts but haven't injected sufficient sizzle into the dialogue or individuality into the characters." He surmises that Valkyrie "looks destined for just so-so commercial returns." [FOXnews.com]

Today, I went and watched the movie myself. I'm somewhat of a history buff, and from what I could tell the movie was almost dead-on correct. On that front, I think the movie does an excellent job portraying the event that took place. When I watch a movie based on a historical event, that is one of the topmost things in my priority list of things to do right. You're telling the story of something that actually happened. Get it right.

This movie, despite the reviews, was one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time. I am not a movie person, and I don't get out and watch every new picture, so perhaps I missed something. But from what I can see, this movie enters deeper levels of thought and reality than most I've seen in a while.

Perhaps the reason it's getting such bad reviews is because it was advertised as a thriller. I was thrilled. Even through there was only one scene in which guns were actually fired (very brief gun fight at the very end), I was in absolute suspense the whole movie. I even knew how it was going to end, yet I was captivated. The exposition and filmography were perfect. I enjoyed every minute of this film, just as much as other thrillers like Mission Impossible. However, it's not quite the same style. This movie does things that other thrillers don't, and perhaps can't, do. It messes with your mind. Maybe if the reviewers at Fox and MSNBC stopped thinking about actors and movies and payed attention to stories and people in them, then they would see the true beauty of this movie.

I am not the sort of person who cries at movies. To date, I've cried at three: Fellowship of the Ring, when Boromir died (honestly, the most heroic death scene ever); Return of the King, when Sam gives the famous "I can't carry it for you" line (more heroism); and at the end of Valkyrie, when the conspirators are being executed. If the last two movies were because of heroism, then it stands to reason this one would be also. I'm not moved by petty romantic moments staged between to actors, or when some long-lost friend is dying. I'm moved when something truly heroic takes place. In Valkyrie, the heroism is plain to see.

Col. Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators endure the utmost risk in order to do what they know is right. Even though themselves and their families will probably be killed, they attempt an unreasonably difficult attack on Hitler, and nearly succeed with ending the Nazi regime. Ending the Nazi regime is heroic enough, especially at such odds. However, the film's heroism does not end here.

Why they attempt this is shown in several small quotes. "We have to show the world that we are not all like [Hitler]." In todays world, the first words that pop into a person's mind when Germany is mentioned are "Hitler" and "Nazi". Germans are all Jew-hating Nazis who want to conquer the world. As a man of German descent, this has always bothered me. Whe exactly is the entire race of Germans branded with this evil stigma just because of one man and one regime? Isn't this racism? Not all Germans are like that.

"Long Live Sacred Germany!" shouts Col. Stauffenberg as he dies before the firing squad. Stauffenberg, unlike some others in the army, sees immediately that what Hitler is doing is horribly wrong and is injuring Germany. He knows that when the Allies come in a few, short months, and Hitler is killed, Germany will be branded with an eternal mark of shame. This is against his every principle. Stauffenberg is a true patriot. Chesterton says that a true patriot will love his country so much that he will be willing to do anything for it - even throw it into chaos. This is definitely Stauffenberg's love of country. He does not attach this love to the regime of Hitler, like some of the Germans did.

Movies are classics because they apply to our lives timelessly. Even though Hitler died in 1945, human nature has not changed. We still have difficulty with patriotism. America is in a similar position. We are not at all patriotic. Granted, not for the same reasons as the Germans who followed Hitler. We don't love our government, thinking we are loving our country. We have simply thrown patriotism out the window. What is America? What does it mean to be an American? The first words that come to the mind of most people are liberty or freedom. But as our freedoms are slowly slipping away, people don't seem to notice - unpatriotically so. If our nation is losing its identity - which should be the reason we love it - then we ought to be moved to action. Like Col. Stauffenberg says, "There have to be actions, and there have to be effects."

This movie is definitely one of the best movies I've seen in a while, not just because it entertained me, but because it caused me to think about what I'm doing for my country. Movies aren't great because of their acting and cinematography. Those things can make a movie good, and Valkyrie certainly had them. A movie is great when it takes what you know and shows it to you, so clearly that inaction is impossible. Along with Wall-e, this is my choice for Best Picture of 2008.

~Ambrose

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1 Comments:

Blogger terminal said...

Valkyrie is that last movie I saw it was the best movie I seen for some time. I really wait to see it because after seen the trailer of Valkyrie I felt that it is going to grate adventure action. The respective look of the movie is pretty. When every body is including performing at the very best to make it more live as world war. Even is saw lot war movies and download the regularly with http://www.80millionmoviesfree.com this movie Valkyrie is the best selection for me.

January 07, 2009 1:37 AM  

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